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John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera for Art Historians: Finding images

How to maximise use of the John Johnson Collection to find information about artists and art


Composite print titled The Connoisseur. The image of the lady is made up of prints

(C) John Johnson Collection: Trade in Prints and Scraps 2 (1)

Iconographic indexing

We  index the images too.  We use: Library of Congress Thesaurus for Graphic Materials and Iconclass.

In The John Johnson Collection: an archive of printed ephemera (ProQuest) always use 'select from a list' to check that your search term is the best one.

Finding images

To find out which sections of the John Johnson Collection have been catalogued and digitised, you should refer to the online table: Digitised sections of the Collection and our Introduction to Finding Images.

We currently have c. 118,000 records online, with 183,000 images.

All images are on our own website except: Ballads, the Toyota Project (transport: now archived) and ProQuest's The John Johnson Collection: an archive of printed ephemera (which I will shorten to ProQuest). This is our largest project. (65,000 items, with over 170,000 images) It covers:

  • Popular Prints
  • Advertising
  • 19th century Entertainment
  • Crime, Murders and Executions
  • Booktrade

The images are licensed to ProQuest.  When you do a search in our online catalogue and the resulting images are on the ProQuest site, you should follow the link to ProQuest and re-do the search. The ProQuest site has excellent functionality for images, including the facility to rotate, zoom and measure the images.  For text, there is hit-highlighting too.

Why shouldn't I just use ProQuest?  If you are absolutely sure that there is nothing relating to your search which is not on ProQuest, go ahead. However, only five sections are represented, so you may miss other material. For example, our Political Cartoons and Trades and Professions prints are not on the ProQuest site, so if you are looking for particular artists or themes, you would miss relevant prints.

The John Johnson Collection: an archive of printed ephemera can be cross-searched with other collections through Connected Histories.

Because digitisation has been project-led, there are often different ways of viewing and searching (and cross-searching) Johnson material. These are outlined on our Projects page. Of particular importance to art historians is the Visual Arts Data Service (VADS). This hosts our Political Cartoons and Trades and Professions Prints. VADS, in turn, can be cross-searched through Culture Grid.



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Julie Anne Lambert
John Johnson Collection
Bodleian Libraries
Broad Street
+44 (0)1865 277047